Bristol Museum and Art Gallery produced The Gifts by Alinah Azadeh and Still Living by Rosa Nguyen which were exhibited from 6 February - 18 April 2010

'In exploring the Museum's collections, examining curatorial roles, choices and interpretation, 'Still Living'and 'The Gifts'seek to dissolve some of the traditional barriers of the institution, in turn posing questions about how museums present and represent culture.' Julia Carver, curator

Artists' statements

'The Gifts was a suspended installation of 999 ‘dying‘ objects gifted to me by over 500 members of the public and ritually wrapped in cloth with them in a series of live sessions exploring loss, longing and attachment in relation to personal objects and their encoded narratives. These ‘gifts’ ranged from hair, keys, cigarettes, love letters to pregnancy tests, human ashes and a wedding ring. The ‘flying’ form of the work referenced both the Persian carpets that I grew up with and the tsunami wave that swept my mother away in 2004 and prompted the beginning of the collection.' Alinah Azadeh

'Receiving the shape of things’ bursary enabled me to build upon previous projects I had done in the context of the museum, drawing inspiration from and creating meaningful relationships to objects from collections by incorporating them directly with my own work. For the installation I created at the Bristol Museum I choose to develop work in the medium of glass. Opacity and transparency are familiar optical qualities to me as ceramicists but the invisible quality of clear glass, so prevalent in a museum environment and its capacity to reveal itself and things behind it in different light was the primary poetical motivation which led to Still Living.' Rosa Nguyen

‘Both sets of work are extremely moving and beautiful. An exhibition to engage both the emotions and the intellect’ member of the public


The catalogues for the exhibitions have essays by Janis Jefferies, Frances Loeffler, Julia Carver and David Kay

View publication on

View publication on